We were guests at Capella Lodge for four days in February of 2011. I had heard about this small hotel from a good friend of mine who celebrated her honeymoon here ten years ago. Apparently a lot has changed, most of it for the better if that is possible. When I told my friend about how nice it was, she was pretty surprised because she thought it was wonderful way back when. What really knocked her over though, were the prices. This would be my only real complaint. I honestly think this hotel is really very expensive for what it is - but, having said that, the other side of the coin is that because it costs so much, only the nicest, coolest people actually make it over there and that was what made our stay so nice.
I won't go on and on about Mark and Libby because what everyone else wrote is true: they are lovely, lovely people and they put so much tender loving care into Capella that it is hard to write any negative thing about their baby (even though they are not technically the owners).
Location!!! Lord Howe Island is so beautiful it is just worth it to see once in your life. If you are lucky enough to be able to get here - do it!
Food and drink: I really enjoyed the meals we had, although I am not a foodie (warning: they were nice and tasty but not special/special), and I especially liked the wines and the quality and variety of what was on offer. Also, I thought it was really nice that every night there was a different cocktail to sample.
General Ambience: I loved it - I really liked the chillout vibe and look of the place and thought it was cool that there were amazing views to be seen everywhere.
Walking and Exploring: There is so much to do as far as just making walks or taking hikes and seeing interesting things - you could stay here for weeks probably and not finish it all. Also, since the island is at the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef, the underwater scene is very interesting. We went snorkeling and saw lots of fish - I chickened out when a fellow snorkeler saw a turtle, didn't realize it was a turtle, freaked out and got out of the water. Then a sudden rainstorm came and soaked us all so we just went back to shore and to the hotel for hot chocolate.
Spiders: These are everywhere! Everywhere! If you have a thing about spiders, don't come to LHI. They are really everywhere and I can't say that enough. I am really afraid of them and so it was hard for me to stay here for that reason. On the upside, these spiders are NOT poisonous, just ugly, and the ones that hang over the trees (ick!) will not come down from their webs - I promise. I know because I watched them obsessively every day. I swear they didn't move. The problem was the OTHER spiders - the ones that lived on the ground. They did like to move around, and especially at night! In four days we had two of them in our room so that was very disappointing. This leads me to my biggest negative criticism of Capella Lodge: There are far too many ways for creatures to get into the rooms. The doors to the rooms, while quaint, are simply wooden doors with louvres that don't have screens to protect you from anything that might wander in. Fine if it were the Caribbean but... er, this is Australia. Most foreign visitors do not know what is dangerous and what isn't, and it isn't funny or nice if you get out of the shower at 9 in the evening and find yourself face to face with a creature (the main door is right next to the bathroom)! Forget asking for help trying to kill/catch anything also, as I was basically laughed at and told to find a glass and a piece of paper (forced my husband to do it).
So the rooms are very very lovely to look at on the website, but as far as being useful they aren't very. The sitting room was especially disappointing to me because the two sofas were actually futons pushed against the wall. Despite this, we were not allowed to have our entire family stay just in this room. Hmmmm.... Just to re-iterate, we paid AUD 2'000 per night for one room, times two, because we had two adults and two teens and one eleven year old who was also too freaked out to sleep downstairs with whatever was going to crawl in with him. To me, this was a waste of a room because we really only used the one room which was plenty large enough for all of us. So, two empty futons (in two rooms because the other room had them also).
Also, we had a bit of bad luck because there was some kind of heavy weather which meant lots of wind which meant that the special ceiling-to-floor blinds would bang violently against the window frame if you left the sliding windows open for a bit of air. Or leave them shut and get very hot at night which we ended up doing (not so bad).
Bicycle/Golf Cart thing: There are only two golf carts to use at Capella - one comes automatically with the most expensive room and the other one is for rent first come first serve. Otherwise, guests can either use bikes or walk. We walked until the last day, when my family biked (I do not bike). I thought this was a big negative, but after going over it, I decided it really isn't. I think it is a good thing that there aren't nine groups of guests whizzing around on golf carts, disturbing the peace and natural beauty of the island. Maybe one more cart would be nice, but on the whole, the bikes are nice, and I really, really enjoyed the walks. It was very special and cool, and there was a lot to see on the way to wherever a person wanted to go.
Service: I really like (like every other reviewer has) Mark and Libby, but they can't be everywhere, let's face it. I thought the two ladies doing the housekeeping were wonderful. They were always smiling and seemed relaxed even when they had a LOT to do (these rooms have two floors so they must be a killer to keep clean). I think everyone else working there were fine but there is always room for improvement.
As we were leaving, I believe Libby told my husband that Capella was gearing up for some refurbishment, so that hopefully means improvements to the doors and maybe also to the futon question (free-standing sofas???).
We will most likely go back because everyone in my family fell in love with Lord Howe Island - and I am sure when we do it will be even more fantastic than it was this trip.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Celebrated as the pinnacle of luxury on World Heritage-listed Lord Howe Island, Capella Lodge rests atop romantic Lovers Bay. An inspired architectural design welcomes spectacular views of the ocean, reef and mountains into the Lodge.A short flight from Australia’s east coast transports visitors to a real ‘treasure island’. Capella’s nine contemporary island-style suites are designed to complement Lord Howe’s pristine natural environment. Luxurious surrounds, exceptional island-inspired dining and unforgettable ‘first-name’ service combine to create an outstanding Lord Howe Island lodging experience. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Capella Resort All Inclusive
- Capella Hotel Lord Howe Island